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seawakim

Tempering Chocolate

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1 hour ago, dannysdesserts said:

I've been away for a few days.  So Kerry, is there some solution to that issue?

If you mean is there anything you can do to fix it now that there is sugar bloom on the surface? I'd suggest melting it in hot milk and making hot chocolate out of it. 

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I have had situations where I had to hold chocolates for customers for a long enough period of time that they (the chocolates, not the customers) would have deteriorated and have kept them in the refrigerator without an issue.  Some luck may have been involved, but I sealed the chocolates (in their individual boxes) in plastic bags.  I used a vacuum sealer but without any vacuum (because of what it does to the chocolates--not a pretty sight).  When I take them out of the fridge, I leave them still sealed for some hours before opening the bag.  So if you have access to a (vacuum) sealer, you could try that.  At the moment I have some sealed in bags in the fridge, waiting to be transferred tomorrow to my new chocolate freezer.  I will reverse the acclimating process when I take them out and hope for the best.

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You're welcome!  Practice, practice - the first hundred times are the hardest :)

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I did another batch yesterday WITHOUT implementing the airtight suggestions.  Can we confirm that this is sugar bloom?  I am about to melt this down, temper it and then do the airtight suggestion.  I think it is cool enough now so I can leave a mold on the countertop to set rather than in the fridge (wine or regular).

 

sugar bloom issues.jpg

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I can't confirm what type of bloom without touching it - if it feels gritty it's sugar bloom - if it feels greasy it's fat bloom. If it's sugar bloom I'd make the hot chocolate and not temper it again. The gritty won't go away. The sugar in conched chocolate is in an amorphous form not in a crystalline form. 

 

The placing the molds in the fridge (for 10 to 15 minutes not 3 hours) to carry off the latent heat of crystallization is not to compensate for the warm ambient temperature - you do it regardless of the room temperature. 

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OK, so here's my plan.  Ditch that last batch.  Start with brand new batch of chocolate, temper as above, mold, let edges set at room temperature then cool in "regular" fridge for 40 minutes.  Unmold, seal airtight and store in wine fridge set at 62-63F.  

 

Solid plan?

 

I'll report back in a few days.

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9 minutes ago, Kerry Beal said:

Nope - 10 to 15 minutes in regular fridge. Just long enough to carry off the latent heat.  

Thanks Kerry!  NEW plan.  Brand new batch of chocolate, temper as above, mold and cool in "regular" fridge for 10-15 minutes.  Unmold, seal airtight and store in wine fridge set at 62-63F.

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6 hours ago, dannysdesserts said:

Thanks Kerry!  NEW plan.  Brand new batch of chocolate, temper as above, mold and cool in "regular" fridge for 10-15 minutes.  Unmold, seal airtight and store in wine fridge set at 62-63F.


Don't be offended by what I'm about to say, just trying to be encouraging here. The first plan I would make is forgetting all about the manufacturer's site and anything it said. The second plan I would make is to follow the suggestions you received here exactly as suggested without trying to freestyle any of it or incorporate things from the above mentioned, and hopefully discarded for now, manufacturer's website (or any other sources for now). The people who are trying to help you here are the very same people who have been incredibly helpful to me when I started, and as I continue on, the chocolate learning journey. I didn't try to adapt or change anything. I just did what they said and, though I may pay dearly for saying this out loud during my next chocolate session, I haven't had to toss or repurpose a single batch. The idea is to get the problems you're having solved. Once that's out of the way, experiment with changes all you want. You'll have a reliable baseline you'll be working from which makes tracking down any problems related to the experimenting much easier.

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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24 minutes ago, Tri2Cook said:

 The first plan I would make is forgetting all about the manufacturer's site and anything it said.

 

Yeah, the Valrhona bags say to melt it for at least 12 hours or something totally impractical.  As for the melting temp, by all means be careful and don't leave your bain marie on a gas burner with flames shooting up the sides or put a bowl of chocolate in the microwave for 5 minutes on high.  But going a little bit above 120F isn't going to damage the cocoa butter or make it not temper, it just means you'll have to add more seed or wait longer for it to cool down.  I've had dark chocolate accidentally get up to 140 or 150 while melting and it still tempered fine once it cooled down.  (I have a 6kg melter but more often than not I use a bowl over simmering water because it's faster and more convenient for small batches.)

 

Chocolate can be super frustrating, and will frequently remind you that you're not in charge, the chocolate is tempered when it's tempered, and you can't really fake it.  But it does get easier with practice, and when it turns out nicely it's so satisfying!

 

 

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1 hour ago, Tri2Cook said:


Don't be offended by what I'm about to say, just trying to be encouraging here. The first plan I would make is forgetting all about the manufacturer's site and anything it said. The second plan I would make is to follow the suggestions you received here exactly as suggested without trying to freestyle any of it or incorporate things from the above mentioned, and hopefully discarded for now, manufacturer's website (or any other sources for now). The people who are trying to help you here are the very same people who have been incredibly helpful to me when I started, and as I continue on, the chocolate learning journey. I didn't try to adapt or change anything. I just did what they said and, though I may pay dearly for saying this out loud during my next chocolate session, I haven't had to toss or repurpose a single batch. The idea is to get the problems you're having solved. Once that's out of the way, experiment with changes all you want. You'll have a reliable baseline you'll be working from which makes tracking down any problems related to the experimenting much easier.

 

Tri2Cook - Thanks for your advice!  I went back an reread this entire thread to make sure I'm not missing anything from the experts.  After reading I feel like I am doing just what the experts suggested the second plan.  

 

I am using wild crystallization method that Kerry described by heating the chocolate.  She never gave me a maximum temperature but I am using the manufacturer's suggested max of 113F. (Are you telling me that this is too low?) I do this low and slow on the double-boiler.  I then cool it down to 80.6 and rewarm it to 89.  I'm making sure I stir, stir, stir during the cool and rewarm processes.  I leave the molds on the counter until the edges set and lose their sheen and then place them in the fridge for 15 minutes (although in the thread Kerry said both 15 and 30 minutes depending on if I'm doing shells or solids.  I'm doing solids.).  I then place them in airtight container and store in wine fridge set at 62-63F.  

 

I greatly appreciate the advice from these experts and I thought I was following it.  If I'm not, can you help me understand what I'm misunderstanding?  Thanks!

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Nope, nothing to add. If your plan is to give what they suggested a try, that's all I was suggesting. Best of luck.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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45 minutes ago, dannysdesserts said:

 

Tri2Cook - Thanks for your advice!  I went back an reread this entire thread to make sure I'm not missing anything from the experts.  After reading I feel like I am doing just what the experts suggested the second plan.  

 

I am using wild crystallization method that Kerry described by heating the chocolate.  She never gave me a maximum temperature but I am using the manufacturer's suggested max of 113F. (Are you telling me that this is too low?) I do this low and slow on the double-boiler.  I then cool it down to 80.6 and rewarm it to 89.  I'm making sure I stir, stir, stir during the cool and rewarm processes.  I leave the molds on the counter until the edges set and lose their sheen and then place them in the fridge for 15 minutes (although in the thread Kerry said both 15 and 30 minutes depending on if I'm doing shells or solids.  I'm doing solids.).  I then place them in airtight container and store in wine fridge set at 62-63F.  

 

I greatly appreciate the advice from these experts and I thought I was following it.  If I'm not, can you help me understand what I'm misunderstanding?  Thanks!

I know we talked 30 minutes for solids - but that was thick solids - the ones you are using appear to be pretty thin solids (unless I'm totally missing the scale of the picture) - so I stand by my 10 -15 minutes. 

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OK, final follow up for anyone who is interested.  I have had little success with the wild crystallization method. I have had great success with the seed method as follows:

melt 150g chocolate until about 120F

stir in 50g finely chopped tempered chocolate to ensure it all melts

cool to 84F (while stirring) then rewarm to 89F

mould and cool in fridge for 15 min

unmould and cool with fan blowing across rack

 

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I don't understand why you're cooling it to 84 and then rewarming it. If you're trying to create the beta crystals from nothing (wild crystallisation), then that's how you do it - melt, cool, warm, use. If you're seeding (which is what you're describing), add your seed and cool whilst stirring to the working temperature of the couverture. If all the seed has melted before you reach the working temperature, you probably need to add a little bit more. If it's all melted out and you're still 5C above working temperature, you won't get the seeding method to work because there's no beta crystals left to seed, they've all melted.

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If all the seed has not melted when you get to the working temp (you mention 89F), you should take it out.  This can be difficult if you have small pieces (such as I think yours are).  A slotted spoon would help get it all.  It is easier if you have a large chunk of the seed to start with--perhaps after you get some of your chocolate properly tempered, you could use a piece of that.  Just a thought.

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I suspect the reason that the wild crystallization is not working for you (if you are doing it correctly) and the bastardized seed method is - is that the thermometer you are using is not accurate. You said you tested it with boiling water and it was 1 degree off of 210.8. I usually use 212 as the boiling point when testing as I am reasonably close to sea level. Calibrating at 212 doesn't tell you what your thermometer is doing at 70 F. If your thermometer is already off by a couple of degrees at 212 - it could be off a couple of degrees or more at the much lower temperatures where chocolate is being tempered. 

 

So with wild crystallization, when you think you are getting down to 27º C - you might only be getting down to 29º C and won't get the formation of all the crystals you need. But if you 'seed' down to what you think is 27 and it's actually 29 - then you are pretty darn close to where you should have been. 

 

I would suggest you get a thermometer from Thermoworks that is known to read accurately at the temperatures where you are working - then pick one of the two methods and as Tri-2-cook suggested above - 'follow the directions exactly as suggested without trying to freestyle any of it'.

 

 

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1 hour ago, dannysdesserts said:

Thanks keychris.  I will do as you suggest, cool to only 89F so as to not destroy the beta crystals.

 

Not sure what you mean by that.  The beta crystals will not be destroyed by being cooled below 89, the point is that if they are present because you have seeded successfully there is no need to cool the chocolate below working temp.  If you have the 1-2% of beta crystals and your test is good, you're good to go.

 

Do you have any books you're working from?  I would highly recommend Peter Greweling's Chocolates and Confections, though I have the older edition, not the new one.  He explains how things work and offers troubleshooting guides.  I think some people here like Andrew Garrison Schott's book but I don't have it.  I find the Wybauw books must have lost something in translation, they are not as clear and easy to understand as Greweling, and they are expensive to boot.

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1 minute ago, pastrygirl said:

 

Not sure what you mean by that.  The beta crystals will not be destroyed by being cooled below 89, the point is that if they are present because you have seeded successfully there is no need to cool the chocolate below working temp.  If you have the 1-2% of beta crystals and your test is good, you're good to go.

 

Do you have any books you're working from?  I would highly recommend Peter Greweling's Chocolates and Confections, though I have the older edition, not the new one.  He explains how things work and offers troubleshooting guides.  I think some people here like Andrew Garrison Schott's book but I don't have it.  I find the Wybauw books must have lost something in translation, they are not as clear and easy to understand as Greweling, and they are expensive to boot.

Indeed - Greweling is an excellent resource!

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I'm going to throw a curve ball in here...actually a couple...

 

If you're using callets/pistoles/other tempered chocolate drops - you could try using the incomplete melting method to temper (see video). You *do8 have to be scrupulous about short bursts though.

 

You don't say (or I completely missed) what you are doing this for - but i'm assuming this isn't a commercial venture and is more experimentation at this stage? If so - then maybe try using mycryo to seed - it's a pricey option for large scale work but for small batches it works very well (it's just a tempered cocoa butter powder...exactly the same process but you heat the chocolate to 45c, cool to around 34c and then add 1% by weight mycryo - stir stir sir - works for me every time)

 

Finally - I cannot recommend a good thermometer enough. Personally I use a Thermapen - well worth the investment. IR thermos are fine once you have the hang of it all and you can check the temperature against a proper probe thermometer...but they are less useful in less than ideal conditions.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Budding, UK based chocolatier .....or at least..that's the plan 

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